Dialect Ltd GDPR Statement


This document acts as an update on our journey to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance as an agency. What is included in this document is how GDPR will affect the day to day operations of our campaign planning, management, measurement and optimisation and how we aim to tackle some of the challenges presented by this far reaching piece of regulation.

From our perspective this presents an opportunity for us as an agency and our clients to provide leadership within the industry by embracing this regulation fully and demonstrating how GDPR compliance does not have to be a burden on how effective campaigns focused on targeted audiences are delivered.

Disclaimer: This is not legal advice. This document acts purely as an update as to where we stand on the complex nature of the GDPR and gives you an insight into how we’ll be impacted and how we’re planning to tackle some of the challenges.

Impact Assessment

As I’m sure you’re aware, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect on May 25th 2018. This is a far reaching piece of regulation that will alter how virtually every company in the world operates and here at Dialect we’re no exception to the rule. At present there is a lot of fear and uncertainty within the media and marketing space and many organisations are reacting with knee-jerk decision making that could be extremely damaging to their businesses going forward.

Fortunately, as a business we’re well prepared for GDPR and have been planning for this new data protection reality since 2017. We’re pleased to say that the majority of the services we provide for you will continue as usual. However, there will be some changes that will occur in order for us to act in compliance with the GDPR and these are detailed below.

Endemic media

In terms of our endemic media delivery we won’t see a huge amount of change.

We’ll still be able to:

  • Deliver high impact creative assets across tier 1 publishers
  • Drive highly targeted audiences into our client’s ecosystem or that of carefully selected retail partners
  • Measure and optimise the delivery of our endemic media

However, certain things are changing…

  • The collection of personal data of EU citizens obtained through third party publishers must be consented to explicitly by the user
  • Opted in users must have the ability to obtain, delete and export any personal data held on them with an easily accessible opt out function

We’re currently working with publishers who are offering various solutions to obtain this consent. We’re confident that by the 25th May we’ll be able to utilise the same publishers we have done previously in a similar manner, ensuring consent is obtained where necessary and all relevant legal rights for individual users are upheld.

Retargeted media

Over the last few months the majority of retargeted media has been purchased in house by our clients so this is something we haven’t done a huge amount of. However, we’ve been looking carefully at how we can still provide retargeted media as a service to our clients.

Whilst we can gain consent from individuals to deliver retargeted media to them, as a third party, identifying individual users and ensuring their rights are upheld is currently impractical/impossible to achieve with the tools and platforms we have available. We believe there will be a technological solution for this in the near future but it is unlikely to be available to us by the 25th May.

As a result we’re advising our clients to hold off on retargeting users using data obtained from third parties (in this case publishers). Until a solid solution is available to ensure you are able to deliver retargeted media without any legal consequences we do have another solution.

As publishers will have full access to opted-in users we intend to set up retargeting deals with publishers so that we can continue to retarget users who are engaging with our content. This will entail publishers retargeting engaged users on our behalf as opposed to us or our clients setting up and managing those retargeting campaigns.

We may not be able to roll this out across the entirety of our publisher network to begin with, but the larger publishers with the technological capabilities will hopefully have these capabilities in place by May 25th. We’re in regular communication with these publishers to ensure minimal disruption to our regular service offering.

Competition signups and email distribution

Another key part of our service offering is running contests and signup campaigns. The good news here is this will largely continue as usual as we’re very transparent around our consent process. However, there are some measures we’re taking to ensure an even greater level of compliance.

  • Our opt-ins will be more explicit around how we intend to use the personal data and what users can expect to receive in terms of communication
  • Opt-out function will be easily accessible through all email communication
  • We’re restricting access to email data to key personnel only
  • We’re reducing the time we hold data on inactive users to 6 months (if held by you, the client, this period will be dictated by your GDPR policy)
  • We’ll work with clients to amend privacy policies and T&Cs on contest landing pages to ensure compliance
  • We’re working with email service providers to ensure a high level of security in how data is stored

Analytics and campaign measurement

In terms of analytics and campaign measurement there is still a great deal of ambiguity around what is permitted and what isn’t. We’re in the process of consulting legal counsel to ensure we as a business have a transparent position on this.

At present our understanding is:

  • All campaign data that contains no personally identifiable data can still be obtained by third parties to allow for campaign measurement

This will allow us to provide top level campaign metrics such as impressions delivered, click throughs and CTRs as has previously been the case. However, conversion data, demographic data, and any other information regarding an individual user will have to be consented to and the associated legal rights of the individual will continue to apply.

This is likely to have some impact on our reporting capabilities, but as stated, we’re currently seeking legal counsel to see if this could potentially fall under the “legitimate interest” clause within the GDPR and if not, whether there will be a technological solution to continue this work as we believe there will be.

Dialect’s partners

As an agency we work with a large number of partners. These partners can range from giant digital publishers to suppliers of niche analytical tools to aid us on campaign planning, optimisation and measurement. Given the far reaching nature of the GDPR, virtually every working relationship we have is affected in some way and we want to assure you, as an agency working on your behalf, that we’re doing everything we can from our perspective to ensure compliance right the way through the supply chain. Measures we’re taking include:

  • Conducting rigorous due diligence on all partners to ensure compliance
  • Replacing partners who we feel fall short of GDPR standards (or working with them to gain compliance)
  • Producing new partner agreements that contractually specify the standards required that are dictated by the GDPR
  • Regularly monitoring partner tools and sites to ensure measures of compliance are upheld
  • Reporting any significant breaches to the ICO as detailed by their guidelines

Strategic Measures

It has probably become clear that we, as is the case with virtually every other business, will be impacted by the GDPR. Whilst some of the effects may be short term, we aim to work towards strategic solutions in every scenario. Whatever happens, we believe the tracking of individual users will be affected indefinitely, and as a result, global solutions will be rolled out by our clients that will require us to adhere to their policies as well as the guidelines set out by the GDPR. Here are some of the strategic measures we’re taking to ensure our clients receive the best possible performing campaigns within this new regulatory framework.

Main objective: driving users into client ecosystems

Whilst driving users into client ecosystems has always been one of our main objectives, traffic driven to websites, social properties, landing pages, video platforms etc will be more important than ever before as this will give you the ability to do more around consent and acquiring personal data.

For example, if you’re pixel tracking opted in Facebook users across your site using Facebook pixels, you’ll still be able to retarget Facebook users who have gone through your ecosystem and will provide you with a strong remarking option.

Contextual advertising

With the reduced level of tracking available to us, working with publishers to provide stronger contextual environments will ensure we’re displaying more relevant messages and media that will drive highly targeted users into your ecosystem.

We’ve already begun this work with partners such as NetworkN and Future where some highly creative solutions are being constructed to ensure that we’re delivering media and content within environments that drive users with a high level of purchase intent.

Being active in this space early will no doubt help in driving market share as it will ensure you’re able to continue hitting the most highly targeted audiences possible.

Increase signup campaigns

With email continuing to be one of the most effective marketing channels, driving traffic to landing pages promoting a newsletter signup is a great way to continue delivering highly targeted content to engaged users.

By driving traffic from strategically delivered content and media across client hosted and partner hosted channels, acquiring signups will be a great way to continue growing your ecosystem whilst ensuring a communication channel remains open to these users. Email allows us to deliver a message rich in content that could drive towards purchase or towards another creative asset on your social or website channels.

In Summary…

Whilst we won’t be enormously impacted by the GDPR and we believe solutions will be in place in the near future that will allow us to continue in a similar manner as we worked before, there will no doubt be some areas where changes will need to occur in order to gain compliance. We’ve highlighted a number of these areas within this document and we feel we’re in a strong position as an agency having been planning for this eventuality over the last 12 months.

In this document we’ve outlined where the main impacts will be and w’ve highlighted some of the strategic solutions we’re suggesting and we feel we’ll be able to improve on our campaign delivery as a result of these changes.

This is a piece of regulation that is going to affect virtually everyone and we believe that the brands that adapt and take a leading role in this new environment will benefit enormously through improved market share, greater levels of trust built with customers and audiences, and will generally be better placed to “think outside the box” when it comes to creative campaign delivery.

We hope this document has provided some clarity on our current position but please be aware that this is subject to change should any new legal requirements become clear to us and should any further opportunities present themselves as a result of the GDPR.

Please note we will also be producing a similar document in the near future in preparation for the ePrivacy regulation due to land either late 2018 or early 2019.